Eq: Large Cap
There has been a lot of worry about bond prices recently. With inflation rising steeply and the bond market still regaining its footing, it is easy to worry about another sharp selloff. Because junk bonds are on the riskier end of the fixed income spectrum, many think there is more risk in this area. However, the opposite is true, especially in a rising economy. Because they tend to have higher yields and shorter terms, junk bonds naturally have less rate risk. Additionally, because of their underlying financials, junk bonds have a lot to gain in a rising economy. For example, they may be likely to get upgraded, and because of their relatively weak financial positioning to begin with, even minor gains can mean substantial valuation improvements.
FINSUM: If you need income, then high yield bonds are one of the best bets given their natural rate hedging and their potential for significant financial improvement.
A little under a month ago the VIX spiked dramatically due to bitcoin reverberations in tech markets and macro inflation trends, and it's trending…see the full story on our partner Positivly’s site
On the surface, the last few weeks could not have gone better. Vaccinations are up, inflation worries are down, economic indicators are surging, and earnings are great. This has led to a nice relief rally after a rough later winter/early spring. However, the reality is that the summer may again be a tough time for markets. The reason why—a lot of good news is fully priced in, but bad news no longer is. Think about it: if an incredible piece of news came out today, do you think the market would react as strongly as if a very bad piece of news came out? Your gut is probably telling you the latter would have a much stronger response.
FINSUM: We have to agree that the market has gotten a lot of relief from recent news. But really, it would only take one really bad inflation report to send volatility spiking.
Yields did something very alarming today: they shot up to their highest level in two weeks as a kick-off to summer trading. Yield rises were the epicenter of all the volatility a couple of months ago, and have been the key driver of stock returns as they are the primary asset for pricing inflation risk. So the big question is where will they go from here?
FINSUM: Inflation fears have calmed, but commodities prices are still keeping those worries alive. The Fed seems to hold the key to the whole issue. As long as it walks the line that inflation is transitory, and data at least marginally backs that up, the market will be fine. But if we get a couple suspect reports, and a bad headline or two, all exacerbated by an off-the-cuff Fed remark, we could easily stumble into a correction.
The stock market has been absolutely killed lately, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at bonds. Several high yield indexes have barely budged, despite the big worries over inflation and rates. Why? Aside from some high yield bond mechanics which make them less rate-sensitive, the answer is that investors are very excited about the sector. The market is anticipating a big wave of credit upgrades in the next year, and all investors in the space are trying to buy up the winners (who will jump in value when upgraded).
FINSUM: Earnings are doing well and there is a lot of investor demand for new high yield debt. Junk bonds look like they have a great runway for the rest of the year.